Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Love Dare - Day 20

Love is Jesus Christ "While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." – Romans 5:6

The previous day and dare lead to no other conclusion that this. Thankfully, it’s a conclusion you can live with—today, tomorrow, and forever.

Jesus has come “to seek and to save” you (Luke 19:10). Everything you’ve failed at and haven’t been able to do, every minute you’ve wasted trying to fix things your own way—all of it can be forgiven and made right by putting your life into the hands of the One who first gave it to you.

Maybe you’ve never done this. Then today is your day. “Now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Maybe you did it years ago, but you’ve wandered far from your spiritual roots. Then “repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Even if you’ve already made Christ your way of life and have never stopped walking in fellowship with Him, the following Scriptures will be a grateful reminder of all He’s done for you.

The Bible says we are sinful from birth, from the moment we arrive. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6). It’s not as though God sends innocent people to hell.

We deserve it. We simply can’t be good enough to live with a pure and holy God.

However, “God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him” (I John 4:9). “Although He existed in the form of god, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant…He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (I Peter 2:24). By His death, He made invalid the very idea that you are unloved and devalued. If you ever feel that way, you’re not looking at the cross. He proved His love for you there.

Love like this cannot be fully understood. “One will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).

Nor can love like this be earned. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

But it must be received. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

And when you have received this new life and love as your own, you are free to love in ways you’ve never been capable before.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers…This is His command; to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us” (I John 3:16, 23 NIV). “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (I John 4:8).

He was willing to love you even though you didn’t deserve it, even when you didn’t love back. He was able to see all your flaws and imperfections and still choose to love you. His love made the greatest sacrifice to meet your greatest need. As a result, you are able (by His grace) to walk in the fullness and blessing of His love. Now and forever.

This means you now share this same love with your spouse. You can love even when you’re not love in return. You can see all their flaws and imperfections and still choose to love. And though you can’t meet their needs the way God can, you can become His instrument to meet the needs of your spouse. As result, he or she can walk in the fullness and blessing of your love. Now and till death.

True love is found in Christ alone. And after you have received His gift of new life by accepting His death in your place and His forgiveness for your sins, you are finally ready to live the dare.

Today's Dare: Dare to take God at His Word. Dare to trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Dare to pray “Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. But You have shown Your love for me by dying to forgive my sins, and You have proven Your power to save me from death by Your resurrection. Lord, change my heart, and save me by Your grace.”

"In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them." - Isaiah 63:9

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group.

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